‘Useless and Gone’ podcast investigates murdered Grateful Useless followers


Name your self a Deadhead? You may get greater than you bargained for.

That appears to be the subtext of “Dead and Gone,” a podcast premiering Wednesday, October 15. It’s impressed by the findings of newbie detective Todd Matthews, who found that an outsized variety of Grateful Dead followers fall sufferer to foul play. Contemplating himself the world’s first cyber-sleuth, Matthews makes use of the Web to resolve chilly murders and determine lacking individuals via crowdsourcing. The podcast facilities on a selected case during which two Deadheads had been killed and the incorrect man appears to have been convicted.

The double-murder dates again to 1985 and happened in a homeless enclave referred to as Rainbow Village, close to San Francisco. Publish-concert, Mary Gioia and Greg Kniffin, 22 and 18, respectively, from Schenectady, NY, and Wilton, Conn., deliberate to crash there for an evening or two. Each wound up crushed and shot useless.

“They met at a Grateful Useless present,” podcast co-creator Payne Lindsey instructed The Publish, sustaining that the person convicted of the murder (who later died in jail) was truly harmless. “It was straightforward to pin it on him, and the police wrapped up their investigation in someday.”

“Useless and Gone” investigates the crime in addition to the conviction whereas aiming to search out out who actually offed the younger music followers. Not eager to tip his hand, Lindsey allowed that he and his podcast accomplice Jake Brennan discovered the one who they imagine dedicated the crime. Lindsey credit their breakthrough to “a mysterious tip from a fellow Deadhead.”

Grateful Dead members in an undated photo.
Grateful Useless members in an undated photograph.Michael Ochs Archives

As Lindsey places it within the podcast, “Todd has established a set of unsolved circumstances, all with one factor in frequent: the Grateful Useless.” Then Lindsey reels off some dozen examples of Deadheads who died below mysterious or suspicious circumstances, earlier than, after or whereas seeing the band. “Grateful Useless followers typically had anything-goes existence that made them weak and put them in hurt’s approach,” stated Lindsey. “Individuals anticipated peace and love however got here throughout wolves in sheep’s clothes.”

Dead and Gone podcast investigates fans of the Grateful Dead who have gone missing or been found murdered over the decades.
“Dead and Gone” premieres Oct. 15 from TenderfootTV.Tenderfoot TV/Cadence13

Earlier than a typical live performance, followers of the band routinely circulated via chill scenes the place pot smoke permeated the air, Hacky Sacks received kicked forwards and backwards, ticketless followers roamed round hoping for “a miracle” that will get them into the present without cost and unlawful medicine — starting from psychedelic mushrooms to balloons filled with nitrous oxide (dubbed “hippie crack”) — had been on the market. In that surroundings, basic Deadheads had been pleasant, stoned and open to creating new buds who shared their musical affinities.

All of that, in line with Brennan, opened the door for grim endings: “There have been individuals who’d take you right into a Volkswagen bus, and also you’re by no means seen once more” — as was the doable final result for 2 Brooklyn youngsters who hitchhiked to a 1973 present in Watkins Glen, NY. “Individuals who attended reveals within the ’80s instructed us about seeing dangerous folks. There have been opportunistic drug sellers.”

Brennan and Lindsey uncovered sufficient bizarre deaths to bitter the hallucinatory buzz of a marathon Useless present — and, contemplating that units have been identified to final 4 hours, that’s plenty of spilled blood and corpses.

Grateful DeadOakland Coliseum, Oakland CA February, 1992
Grateful Useless performs the Oakland Coliseum in California in February 1992.Alamy Inventory Picture
Rendering of what "Grateful Doe" would look like now. Believed this could be missing man Jason Callahan who was last seen in 1995.
Rendering of what “Grateful Doe,” believed to be Jason Callahan, may appear like now. He was final seen in 1995.Doe Community

One of many extra mysterious circumstances was that of the murdered woman discovered on the aspect of a New Jersey street in 1991. Her ID was unknown, however her thigh bore a recognizable picture: the tattoo of the tiger illustration that adorned Jerry Garcia’s guitar.

Then there was the hitchhiker whose face was dismembered past recognition from a 1995 automobile accident. His pocket contained solely a Useless ticket stub and a be aware signed by two ladies with a drawing of Jerry Garcia on the backside. On-line, the crash sufferer could be dubbed Grateful Doe. In 2015, his id as Jason Callahan received sussed out via a mix of Useless followers responding to a graphic reconstruction of his face and DNA analysis.

Lindsey and Brennan stated that they spent plenty of time researching superfan Jeremy Alex. An ardent follower of the Useless who trailed the group from live performance to live performance, he vanished in 2004, “after freaking out in a girl’s yard in Maine,” stated Lindsey. “He claimed that individuals had been chasing him.” Presumably suspecting that the intruder was excessive on medicine, the lady stepped inside to name police and instructed the child to remain put. When she returned, Alex was gone. “A number of years later, his ID washed up on [a nearby] shore. There’s hypothesis that anyone dumped his physique within the ocean or that he swam out and dedicated suicide.”

Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir perform with The Grateful Dead at Spartan Stadium on April 22, 1979 in San Jose, California.
Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir carry out with the Grateful Useless on April 22, 1979 in San Jose, California.Redferns

One other tragedy transpired at Brendan Byrne Enviornment — now referred to as New Jersey’s Meadowlands Enviornment — throughout a live performance in 1989. Lower than an hour after the ultimate encore, the unconscious physique of 19-year-old Adam Katz, who grew up in South Orange, NJ, was discovered alongside Route 120, close to the venue. Subsequent day, he died. Whereas one medical evaluation hypothesized that Katz was excessive on LSD and dedicated suicide, Lindsey stated, “He had blunt power trauma to the pinnacle … Witnesses noticed sketchy issues with safety guards that evening.” Katz’s mother and father reportedly reached a settlement with a number of events.

Contemplating all of it, Brennan instructed The Publish, “The Grateful Useless had been properly intentioned. They didn’t unfold this mayhem on function. It’s simply what occurs when your followers reside exterior of society.”



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